Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is another highly utilized methodology for studying state changes in meditating brains. fMRI detects subtle increases in blood flow to areas of the brain with higher metabolic activity. Thus these areas of increased metabolic activity indicate which regions of the brain are currently being used to process whatever stimuli presented. Counter to EEG, the advantage of fMRI is its spatial resolution, with the ability to produce detailed spatial maps of brain activity. It suffers, however, in temporal resolution and cannot measure progressive activity, like the EEG, with much detail.
There’s also some new stuff I’ve certainly never included in tracks before including some gentle pink noise and brown noise blended together in the background with what’s called phase modulation. This is almost outside of awareness as you’re listening to it. This is how your ear tells what direction a sound is coming from. Does it arrive at your left ear slightly before your right ear? You can modulate that. So, again, it has a very gentle, imperceptible rhythmic quality to it.
In 1984 medical researcher Dr. Gene W. Brockopp published a paper making several conclusions of audio and visual entrainment (AVE). Such conclusions were that hemispheric synchronization caused by AVE is related to increased intellectual functioning, practiced use of AVE overtime leads to a cumulative effect, and AVE may result in the recovery of early childhood experiences.
In the last two posts, I discussed some unusual ways in which some people respond to certain very ordinary sounds. In the case of ASMR, sounds like tapping, tearing, and popping can lead to tingling sensations associated with relaxation and even drowsiness. In the case of misophonia similar sounds, like swallowing and lip-smacking, can also cause a tingling sensation, but one accompanied by disgust and even rage. Binaural beats are a different kind of sound and many people report finding certain of them relaxing and even conducive to falling asleep. Other people do not like them and after hearing them once never want to hear them again.
Growing up, Joe was plagued with a myriad of health issues such as gut problems, autoimmune issues, chronic fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, and general inflammation. Both conventional and alternative doctors weren’t able to help him, so he decided to fix himself. With lots of health questions and few satisfying answers, Joe decided to read every research paper he could get his hands on and conduct thousands of experiments on his own body in order to fix his health issues. Joe started SelfHacked in late 2013 when he successfully fixed all of his issues, and now it gets millions of readers a month looking to educate themselves about how they can improve their health. Joe is now a thriving author, speaker, and serial entrepreneur, founding SelfDecode & LabTestAnalyzer.
Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been doing meditation with the help of audio-beat technology from a well-known brand, which I thought was a bit expensive. But, at least it gave me an insight into how the mind could and would give me an edge in solving most of my problems. From February, I decided to double the dosage to that which was recommended by the firm as I was desperate for a cure.
Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by a German experimenter, H. W. Dove. The human ability to "hear" binaural beats appears to be the result of evolutionary adaptation. Many evolved species can detect binaural beats because of their brain structure. The frequencies at which binaural beats can be detected change depending upon the size of the species' cranium. In the human, binaural beats can be detected when carrier waves are below approximately 1000 Hz (Oster, 1973). Below 1000 Hz the wave length of the signal is longer than the diameter of the human skull. Thus, signals below 1000 Hz curve around the skull by diffraction. The same effect can be observed with radio wave propagation. Lower-frequency (longer wave length) radio waves (such as AM radio) travel around the earth over and in between mountains and structures. Higher-frequency (shorter wave length) radio waves (such as FM radio, TV, and microwaves) travel in a straight line and can't curve around the earth. Mountains and structures block these high-frequency signals. Because frequencies below 1000 Hz curve around the skull, incoming signals below 1000 Hz are heard by both ears. But due to the distance between the ears, the brain "hears" the inputs from the ears as out of phase with each other. As the sound wave passes around the skull, each ear gets a different portion of the wave. It is this waveform phase difference that allows for accurate location of sounds below 1000 Hz(9). Audio direction finding at higher frequencies is less accurate than it is for frequencies below 1000 Hz. At 8000 Hz the pinna (external ear) becomes effective as an aid to localization. In summary it's the ability of the brain to detect a waveform phase difference is what enables it to perceive binaural beats.
Listening to binaural beats is not something to be feared, however. In most situations, listening is safe and very enjoyable. Choosing a track from various websites online, as well as some videos on YouTube.com, can assist you in relaxing and can bring about a more restful sleep. Choosing a Beta entrainment can help with alertness and focus, while listening to an Alpha wave track can help you to relax and learn new information. Theta tracks can help to change some negative emotions, or to help you drift off to a sounder sleep. Delta waves will help to accelerate healing. To use them, you must use headphones or earphones, because each ear will hear a different frequency. You should make the commitment and listen daily; consistency is key in order to achieve maximum benefits. However, please don't listen to binaural beats twenty four hours a day; once daily for a short period of time is perfectly fine. You should also make yourself comfortable; either lying down or sitting in a comfortable chair will help you to relax. You can do them right before sleep, or right upon awakening. Listening during meditation or visualization exercises will help to improve and deepen your practice. If you feel a little blue or you need a break from the daily routine, you can pop a CD in and unplug completely. When you return to whatever you were doing, you will find that you are more refreshed and ready to take on whatever is before you.
Alpha: Alpha brainwave patterns are associated with a state of wakeful relaxation. Slower and lower in frequency (between 9-14 hertz), alpha waves are dominant when we’re calm and relaxed, but still alert. Alpha waves are associated with states of meditation (your yoga class probably puts you in an alpha state), and also with our ability to be creative.
I love your tapes! I bought them a few weeks ago and have greatly benefited. I’m also a holistic practitioner and have recommended them to a number of patients. And today when I made my last referral to your website for them to purchase from, it occurred to me that perhaps you have referral discounts, or wholesale prices for practitioners, and that I should ask?
Alpha Waves are electromagnetic oscillations in the frequency range of 8Ð12 Hz arising from synchronous and coherent (in phase / constructive) electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in humans. They are also called Berger's wave in memory of the founder of EEG. They place the brain in states of relaxation times, non-arousal, meditation, hypnosis
Both brainwave entrainment and neurofeedback deal with brainwaves, but the similarity stops there. Entrainment pushes your whole brain into a pre-determined state, while neurofeedback teaches you how to move specific parts of your brain on your own. It is the differeence between forcing the brain into a given position, and skills building so you can move it there yourself.
As we start to fall asleep, we naturally pass through the relaxed, drowsy alpha state, dropping into the sleep states of theta and delta. Dreaming occurs in the theta state, but most of the time when we’re asleep in the theta state, we are unconscious, and unable to consciously control the dreams we experience. When we begin to wake up, our dominant brainwaves pass into the lower alpha wavelengths, but usually as this happens, we wake up out of our dreams. The key to lucid dreaming is to approach the alpha wavelength, but, before you fully wake up, move back down into the dreaming theta state. This way, your subconscious begins to wake up enough for you to take control of your surroundings, but you’re still asleep enough that those surroundings are a wonderfully malleable dream instead of reality.
According to the Wikipedia entry “(i)n acoustics a beat is an interference pattern between two sounds of slightly different frequencies, perceived as a periodic variation in volume whose rate is the difference of the two frequencies.” Further, a binaural beat is “… an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear)”. If the two frequencies are, say, 5 Hz apart as in 500 and 505 Hz, then a third tone at 5 Hz will be heard in addition to the two pure tones. What this technique allows for is the creation of an apparent auditory signal that can be perceived and that is at a predictable frequency. In this way, relatively low frequencies can be generated that can be easily perceived and that can correspond to the common brainwave frequency bands. These are often categorized as delta (0.5 – 4 Hz), theta (4 – 7 Hz), alpha (8 – 12 Hz), and beta (13 – 16 Hz). You may find somewhat different ranges and bands other than these listed depending on the source you consult. It is also possible to produce flashes of light that can be administered within these frequency bands but there is some risk of inducing seizures in susceptible individuals. While the most common frequency range for inducing seizures is 15 – 25 Hz, unfortunately, the possible range is 1 – 65 Hz, which covers essentially the whole range of standard EEG frequency bands. This makes use of sound stimulation safer than visual or combined audio/visual stimulation.
A 2008 study at Hofstra University played two different binaural beats and a control sound (a babbling brook) to patients with high blood pressure. There was no difference between the groups. In one small study from Japan that was published in the Journal of Neurophysiology in 2006, they played various binaural beats to nine subjects, and observed the resulting EEGs. They found great variability in the results. Their conclusion was that listening to binaural beats can produce activity on the human cerebral cortex, however the cause was more likely a conscious auditory reaction and was not correlated to the frequency of the binaural beat. However, a 2005 study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that they were able to induce a desired frequency in the EEG matching the phantom beat frequency encoded in a binaural beat, however this was with a single subject and was neither blinded nor controlled.